It happens to me every year. This morning, someone in the Registrar’s Office said, “9 more days until Christmas!” and I panicked. I have only one gift for my father-in-law, nothing for my wife or kids, and AND ONLY A FEW DAYS LEFT TO SHOP! How does this sneak up on me every… single… year?
As a Registrar, I am very good at scheduling. I oversee the class & room scheduling process at my university. I am good at managing tasks. In the past number of years, I have made it a point of professional development to improve my project management skills, and I have become rather religious about Getting Things Done. But there are some things I need to get better at doing.
Here’s where I need your help. No, I don’t need a personal shopper, thanks. I want to know how you plan ahead for vague but important things. For example, Christmas shopping in advance, or work related things such as appeals that come at the end of a semester. Or perhaps the extra busy times that long-time employees know about but forget to mention until you’re in the middle of it. “Oh yeah, this happens every year around this time…” Great, here’s a heartfelt sarcastic thanks for the warning!
Years ago, when I first started in the Registrar’s Office, my colleague Sally helped to set me up with a tickler file, with a folder for every month. The idea is to put reminders in each folder for things like, “It’s Lisa’s birthday on the 14th – buy a card and bake treats” or “This is when the auditors show up” or “Prepare recruiters for travel season – remind them to check that their passports have not expired.” I have tried it three separate times in my career, but it didn’t stick. I need a better system. I’ve created a poll and a feedback tool – please give me your suggestions. I’ll try some out and let you know how I’m doing in a few months.
No pardon me while I go shopping for Christmas presents!